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Family Psychology 2017/2018

  • 7 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Continuous Assessment


The student at the end of this unit should be able to:
- Understand the family as a system and the symptom of an element as a product of interactions and family communication patterns.
- Understand the life cycle of the family, different family types and associated problems.
- Know different ways to evaluate the family either by psychometric instruments, whether by interview
- Distinguish different educational styles and understand its implications for the development of its members.
- Know about the different parental programs and psychoeducational groups.
- Understanding the particular characteristics of families with certain problems, including violence, drug abuse, Eating disorders, schizophrenia, chronic disease.
- Understand specificities of family intervention, identify different techniques, indications and contraindications and ethical issues

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable

Teaching Metodology

Classes will have a theoretical component to the acquisition of basic knowledge and practical training to apply knowledge through active methodologies: research and analysis of articles, debates, case studies analysis.

Body of Work

1 Definition of family and system. Structure and functions.
2 Family Life Cycle.
3 Family types: main characteristics and challenges.
4 Common Problems in families. Functional and dysfunctional families.
5 Family functioning assessment.
6 Family interview.
7 Families and intergenerational patterns (Bowen Theory)
8.Parenting Styles.
9 Parental educatio Programs: from early intervention to adolescence.
10 Extrafamilial networks and intervention.
11 Family and different problems: from burden to empowerment
11.1. fFamily violence and abuse.
11.2. Family and eating disorders.
11.3. Family and schizophrenia.
11.4. Family and addiction.
11.5. Family and loss: bereavement and divorce.
11.6. Family and chronic illness.
12 Foundations of family therapy
13 Basic Techniques of family therapy.

Recommended Bibliography

ALARCÃO, M. (2000). (des)Equilíbrios Familiares. Coimbra: Quarteto Editora.Relvas, A.P. (1996). O ciclo vital da família: perspetiva sistémica. Porto: Edições afrontamento.Barker, P. (2000). Fundamentos da terapia Familiar. Lisboa: Climepsi Editores.
Minuchin, S. & Fishman, H.C. (1990). Técnicas de terapia familiar. Porto Alegre: Editora Artes Médicas.
Sampaio, D. & Gameiro, J. (1985). A terapia familiar. Porto: Edições Afrontamento.
SOUSA, L. (2005). Famílias MultiProblemáticas. Coimbra: Quarteto Editora.
SOUSA, L., RELAVAS, A.P. & Mendes, A. (2007). Enfrentar a velhice a doença crónica. Lisboa: Climpesi Editores.
Relvas,A, & Alarcão M. (coords). Novas Formas de família. Coimbra: Quarteto Editora.
Minuchin, P. (1985). Families and Individual Development: Provocations from the field of family therapy. Child Developement, 56, 289-302.
Torres, A. (2012). Heróis, vítimas e vilões: discursos sobre a Anorexia Nervosa. Psicologia & Socied

Complementary Bibliography

Sartorius, N., Leff, J., López-Ibor, J.J., Maj, M., & Okasha, A. (2004). Families and Mental Disorder: From Burden to Empowerment. NY: Wiley.
Webster-Stratton, C., Gaspar, M. & Seabra-Santos, M. (2012). Incredible Years: Parent, Teaches and children's series: Transpotability to Portugal of Early Intervention Programs for Preventing Conduct Problems and Promoting Social and Emotional Competence. Psychossocial Intervention, 21, 2, 157-169.
Siegel, D. (2013). Open adoption: Adoptive Parents' Reactions two decades later. Social Work, 58, 1, 43-52.
Locke, J.; Campbell, M. & Kavanagh, D. (2012). Can a Parent do too much for their child? An examination by parenting professionals of the concept of overparenting. Australian Journal of Guidance and Couselling, 22, 2, 249-265.
Fustenberg, F. (2010). On a New Schedule: Transitions to adulthood and family change. Future of children, 20, 1, 67-87.
Steinglass, P. (2009). Systemic-motivational therapy for substance abuse

Weekly Planning

1 Presentation of the syllabus and evaluation modalities. Definition of family. System definition.
2 The family life cycle. Case studies analysis.
3 Families types. Case studies analysis.
4 Common Problems in families. Functional versus dysfunctional families. Debate.
5 Family functioning assessment. The systemic interview. Analysis of an interview extract.
6 The Bowen theory. The practical use of genograma. pratical exercises. Extrafamilial networks.
7 Evaluation test. Parenting styles. Analysis of parental education programs and scientific articles.
8 Family and violence / sexual abuse. Watching a movie and discussion.
9 Family and eating disorders.
10 Family and schizophrenia. Family and drug addiction and alcoholism.
11 Family and loss (grief / divorce / chronic illness)
12 Basics of family therapy.
13 e 14 Techniques of family therapy
15 Ethics in family intervention. Revisions. Evaluation test

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

In order to students understand the family as a system, syllabus 1 was developed. In order to studenst know the family life cycle, different types of families and problems associated, syllabus 2, 3 and 11 were taught. In order to students learn different ways to evaluate families, syllabus 4, 5 and 6 were eorked out. Aiming the student applying instruments for collecting systemic data, were developed syllabus 7 and 10. Syllabus 8 was prepared with the aim of students distinguish different parenting styles and understand its implications. Syllabus 9, 12 and 13 were related to the goal of the students learn different parental education and psychoeducational programas, understand the specificities of family intervention, identify different techniques, indications and contraindications and ethical issues.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The teaching methods used in this course are based on students' work, which unfolds in individual and group work, individual work and work in the classroom, fostering the ability to analyze in a critcal way literature. To this end, for aim 1 will be used lectures and also practical examples and an exercise of exploring different narratives about the same phenomenon. For the second goal, the syylabus will be developed trough the description of family cases, where challenges and difficulties will be identified. For the aim 3 e 4, the analysis of family functionin scales will be done, and also the simulation of the application of data collection instruments such as the genogram and the social map. It will be also simulated systemic interviews after an analysis of a transcribed family interview . For the aim 5 and 6, students will be asked to research and explore articles about the implications of different parenting styles and explore parental parental education programs as well as research papers on its effectiveness. For the aim 7, lectures will be done and students will be asked to choose themes to work in groups. to aim 8, in addition to lectures, students will view a video about different family intervention techniques. Ethical issues will be discussed as well as the indications and contraindications of family therapy.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
Commitment to effectiveness Yes
Commitment to quality Yes
Event organization, planning and management Yes
Foreign language proficiency  
Information and learning management Yes
Problem Analysis and AssessmentYes 
Relating to others  
Research skillsYesYes
Written and verbal communications skills Yes
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